INSIDE CROYDON is throwing more resources at covering election night than ever before, with staff and stringers at six different counts across south London. We will be reporting live through the night on the General Election results in Croydon – North, South and Central – as well as in Sutton and Bromley, plus across London and the country.
Croydon’s counts have declarations expected around 4am – though if 2015 is anything to go by, they could be hours later.
The result from the hotly contested Carshalton and Wallington, where LibDem Tom Brake is fighting to save his seat, is promised around 4am, too.
Before that, we’ll be bringing you news of the exit polls and other news as it happens.
Keep checking back every hour or so for updates and additions – latest news will be at the top of the page.
We welcome your election-day pictures and news, your comments and your observations, which you can send to us (confidentially if you prefer) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @InsideCroydon
AND THAT’S YER LOT.
It’s 4.30am, and Croydon Council’s counting processes are – as always – grinding exceedingly slow.
There are two results still to come, Croydon North and Croydon South. We confidently predict that they will be won by Steve Reed OBE and Chris Philp respectively. The numbers will be important, when they come in, but we know you’ve got better things to do…
More detail and analysis will come in the next few days.
Sarah Jones has won Croydon Central for Labour, polling 52 per cent of the vote, with a majority of more than 5,000.
“A huge thank you to the people of Croydon for putting faith in me,” Jones said, little more than two years after she was beaten to the same seat by an agonisingly small margin of 165 votes.
“I will work tirelessly as your MP. I will stand up for all of Croydon.”
Gavin Barwell, the Conservative who has been MP for the seat since 2010, drew 42 per cent of the vote.
No other candidate had than 2 per cent of the vote.
3.40 UPDATE: Tom Brake has held Carshalton and Wallington for the LibDems, with a majority of 1,369 – only slightly down on his margin from 2015.
T Brake (LibDem) 20,819
M Maxwell-Scott (Con) 19,450
E Ibrahim (Lab) 9,360
S Khan (Green) 501
N Mattey (Independent) 434
A Dickenson (CPA) 189
In Sutton and Cheam, Paul Scully comfortably retained the seat he won for the Tories in 2015, quadrupling his majority, a rare highlight on a grim night for the Conservatives nationally.03.30 UPDATE: So Gavin Barwell has arrived at Trinity School, for the count. “Looking glum,” one observer remarks. There will be a bitter irony if the career politician’s career comes to an end in the gym of the private boys’ school which did so much to mould him.
Not that Barwell’ll struggle for work: apparently the soon-to-be-former housing minister is already being tapped up by lobbyists from the housing sector to work for them, keen to use his “good relationships with authorities and house-builders”.
It’ll be interesting to see how Barwell manages without the backing of his staff of six tax-payer-funded employees to show him how to turn on his laptop and other such cutting-edge parts of the job.
When Sarah Jones, the Labour candidate arrived, the body language said much about the anticipated outcome.
Jones’s group included Alison Butler, the deputy leader on the council who, in 2014, lost the Labour selection battle to be the Croydon Central candidate, to Jones. Butler had been busy during the day out canvassing for her erstwhile rival.
“I was astonished when I saw her,” said one of Butler’s Town Hall colleagues.
“Alison hardly ever bothers with canvassing. She must have thought Labour were going to win, and wanted to ensure she was part of it.”03.00 UPDATE: News from the count at Trinity School is that the first seat of Croydon’s three to declare will be Central. Two years ago, that went to a recount and it wasn’t determined until gone 6am.
This time round, it seems likely to be announced around 3.30am, and it is not even close, with Sarah Jones tipped to be elected with the biggest majority seen in what was London’s tightest marginal seat since the 1992 election.
Meanwhile, in news from elsewhere, the Sheffield Hallam count confirms that former Liberal Democrat party leader Nick Clegg has lost his seat. Another Labour gain.
In Twickenham, St Vince Cable has won back the seat he lost in 2015 to the Tories. You win a few, you lose a few. With current LibDem leader Tim Farron facing a recount, possibly losing his seat, it may not be just the Tories looking to have a new party leader soon. Ballroom dancer Cable might be quick-stepping his way into some new responsibility.
02.30 UPDATE: Jeremy Corbyn has just arrived for the count in his Islington constituency, with leading Tory figures expressing doubt that their party will win any seats in London (they’ve clearly forgotten Chris Philp exists).
We are unable to confirm whether the Labour Party leader’s thumbs up gesture was after he had been asked if he’d received a congratulatory call from Steve Reed OBE.
01.50 EXPERT ANALYSIS: Dr Bob Beatty, pictured right, the American politics professor who is in Croydon to study the General Election, says that even if she gets a majority, Theresa Mayhem, the unelected Prime Minister, should stand down immediately if the election results pan out as the early returns appear to indicate.
Dr Beatty makes these observations in the wee small hours of what is already an extraordinary night: “Like the recent election in the US, my initial reaction to the exit poll and early results is one of shock. But upon reflection, the results start to make sense.
“Theresa May, even if she gets a majority, should of course be replaced. She wasn’t running in some small constituency where she could avoid hustings. She was PM and avoided even appearing on the same stage with opponents. She was the unelected leader and needed to prove herself to the voters. She didn’t.
“We’ve heard about the ‘shy Tory’ and in the US the ‘shy Trump’ voters, meaning they don’t tell pollsters they’re voting for people cuz they are a tad embarrassed. Could there have been ‘shy Labour’ voters? Looks like it.“Corbyn, like Trump, positioned himself as the outsider, underdog, anti-establishment candidate. After Brexit, after Trump, should we be surprised that that is appealing?
“From what I saw in Croydon Central, Labour’s ground game in key seats was very impressive. This was not a party on its heels, down in the dumps, this was a motivated party with lots of enthusiasm. That was not the narrative May thought was possible when she was walking in Snowdonia, when she first said she had the idea to call the election.
“Croydon Central seems to centre on where the UKIP vote might go: all to Barwell or replaced by new voters for Jones?”
- This Friday, June 9, Inside Croydon is staging a free talk about the election from American politics professor Bob Beatty. Click here for more details and to book your place
01.30 UPDATE: Whoever was responsible for GOTV – Get Out The Vote – in Croydon has done an outstanding job, with a 71.5 per cent turnout in Croydon Central, where Tory housing minister Gavin Barwell is defending a 165-vote majority from two years ago.
And the high turnout looks like it reduces the chances of a second volume of his hackneyed tome, How To Turn A Tory Seat Into A Marginal.
Gideon Osborne, the work experience editor of the Evening Standard, has told ITV that the Tories have lost Battersea and Croydon Central. It looked like he was smirking as he said so.
Losing Battersea will mean a swing away from the Conservatives of more than 8 per cent. In Kensington and Chelsea, which Paul Waugh called for Labour (see 00.30 update), it would mean a swing of more than 10 per cent.
“The Tories are in meltdown in London,” according to our political editor, Walter Cronxite.
And it looks like Amber Rudd, the home secretary, is under threat of losing her seat in Hastings, while former deputy prime minister and Tory enabler Nick Clegg may have lost his Sheffield seat to Labour, too.
Here in south London, Rosena Khan, who won Tooting after a by-election when Sadiq Khan became London Mayor, increased her majority to 15,458 votes. Tooting had been considered a Tory target seat very recently.
Oh, and UKIP? They got a grand total of 339 votes in Tooting. But Nigel Farage’s safe seat on BBC Question Time is under no threat.
01.00 UPDATE: Belle Mont has been on the phone again from the count in Sutton, and the Carshalton and Wallington result is looking to be very close, with Tom Brake, the FibDem MP for the area for the past 20 years apparently “edging ahead” from the Tory candidate, Tarquin Biscuit-Barrel.
“A few boxes still to be opened and verified,” Mont says. “Too early for anyone to measure-up for curtains for their office in Portcullis House.”
Official figures show the turnout to be very strong, 71.7 per cent in Carshalton and Wallington, with 50,783 votes cast, and 73.9 per cent in Sutton and Cheam, where 53,023 votes were cast.
“Both Tories and LibDems think they have a narrow victory in Carshalton and Wallington,” Mont says. “There’s already talk of a possible recount.”
Meanwhile, the electoral fate of Joan Hickson, the chief LibDem cheerleader for Brake in Croydon, remains something of a mystery, one worthy of Agatha Christie herself.
Two years ago, Coulsdon resident and general busybody Hickson stood in Coulsdon South and managed to reduce her party’s vote by almost 17 per cent.Despite such a pathetic showing, Hickson was picked by her party for the more challenging territory of Croydon Central, a decision which may yet cost the FibDems the £500 deposit, after a particularly pathetic campaign.
How does someone as clearly under-qualified to be an elected representative even manage to be picked as a candidate? “That’s simple,” according to one source at the count familiar with LibDem party workings.
“They couldn’t find anyone else to volunteer.”
Why is this important? Because poor showings by the smaller parties this year suggest that none of them will be ble to break the stranglehold of the political duopoly in next May’s Town Hall elections.
And that means they won’t be able to access the relative riches of the tax-payer-funded councillors’ allowances for at least another four years.
“The smaller parties are getting squeezed in Croydon North and South,” our reporter, Ken Lee, tells us from the count at Trinity School. “UKIP almost wiped out.”
00.40 UPDATE: At least one senior Croydon Labour councillor is calling the outcome of the Croydon Central vote.
And UKIP? Remember them? In the first seven constituency results declared so far, they’ve lost their deposits in five of them.
That £2,500 grand won’t go very far to compensate the nation for the damage they’ve caused, though.
00.30 UPDATE: The respected political reporter Paul Waugh is reporting that the Tories have lost Kensington and Chelsea.He’s tweeted: “That’s KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA, people. If only Portillo was still MP.”
Meanwhile, a correspondent, Mrs B Woodhouse, of Selsdon, has been in touch with the most important question of the night: “Can you tell me why the Conservatives’ election videos always seem to have been recorded in the car park in Addington Hills which is infamous for nocturnal ‘dogging’ activities?”
And the really worrying aspect of all this? Bookmakers have made that A-grade buffoon Boris Johnson odds-on becoming the next leader of the Conservative Party.
Shitting dogs.MIDNIGHT UPDATE: The health warning that always comes with exit poll results… There remains some caution about the possible outcome in Croydon Central, even among the Labour campaign team.
“I think a Labour win in Croydon Central is a long shot but a possibility,” said one senior figure, after an encouraging day’s canvassing with dozens of activists.
“Barwell majority of about 3,000 more likely, mainly because the UKIP vote will split more in his favour.”
Based on national polling when the election was called, the expectation was that Barwell would hold the seat with a 4,000-vote majority.
Some desperation in the Barwell campaign in the last couple of days of campaigning, when he was doling out a leaflet (another one), in a blatant appeal to UKIP supporters.The leaflet is a typical piece of negative campaigning, as you might expect from the intellectually challenged Barwell fan, John Broadfoot, the Tory activist put up to put his name to it.
“Vote Labour and you might as well have voted Remain in the Referendum,” it states.
The leaflet even has the bare-faced cheek to appeal to Little Englanders over Theresa Mayhems’s “target” of fewer than 100,000 net immigrants per year – a target she had for six years as Home Secretary and never came close to achieving.
“Barwell is totally devoid of scruples or principles,” a senior Labour figure told Inside Croydon. “He would sell his own grandmother for a couple of votes. He’s a Remain voter who’s courting the UKIP vote.
“He tells Remain people that a Tory victory will be good for a soft Brexit, as May will be able to see off Tory right-wingers, and he tells Leavers that only a Tory victory will lead to a hard Brexit. There’s no end to his two-facedness and hypocrisy.”
Meanwhile, over in Sutton, Belle Mont, our correspondent reckons that the Sutton and Cheam seat, which was won for the Tories by Paul Scully from the LibDems in 2015, “looks solid Conservative”.
“There’s even talk of the LibDems being pushed into third,” they say, suggesting that Labour’s Bonnie Craven might have taken second.
11.30pm UPDATE: From The Guardian‘s excellent online election blog.
He has a point.
Montgomerie’s assessment of May being as bad as Eden (see 11.20pm) might be false.
Montgomerie overlooks Cameron, who fatally divided the United Kingdom over Scotland for his own political advantage, and then wrecked half a century of progressive alliance with our European partners, potentially wrecking the national economy, again for short-term party political benefit.
How ill-served the British people have been by their political leaders.
Strong and stable. Shitting dogs (see 7.45pm below).
11.20pm UPDATE: The first edition front pages of Friday’s newspapers are starting to come through. Once the Murdoch press turns on a party leader, their time is up. Not even the absolute support and devotion for Theresa Mayhem of the Daily Mail‘s editor Paul Dacre might be enough to save her.
Influential Tory pundit Tim Montgomerie is comparing May to Anthony Eden, saying that she is the most disastrous Conservative leader since the Suez Crisis. Not a good look…
But reports from the Tory bunker say that party officials have crunched their own numbers and that the BBC’s exit poll “doesn’t add up”.
The first two results are in: 2-0 to Labour (OK, it is Sunderland and Newcastle, but these are real figures).
11pm UPDATE: Is this what amounts to a concession from gaffe-prone Gav, made via social media within an hour of the polls closing?
10.50pm UPDATE: This was Theresa Mayhem on May 20.
Shitting dogs (see 7.45pm update for the context).
“If this poll is right, then she’s totally shot herself,” says Michael Crick of the unelected Prime Minister on Channel 4’s less reverential, and more entertaining, election show.
“On the basis of this exit poll, the Labour support has gone up hugely during the course of this campaign… It’s gone up by more than any other party has achieved during an election campaign in modern times.”
And to think that Steve Reed OBE and his Progress mates in the Parliamentary Labour Party had described Jeremy Corbyn as unelectable while trying to destabilise him at every turn.
10.40pm UPDATE: Having created the perfect circumstances for what she called “the coalition of chaos”, with a hung parliament, there’s a rapidly dawning realisation that Theresa May is “toast”, as Alastair Campbell put it so succinctly on Channel 4. And Campbell has witnessed a fair few clusterfucks in his time.
Oh, and the Brexit negotiations with the EU are supposed to begin a week on Monday.
That vision of the shitting dog just keeps coming right back.
10.20pm UPDATE: The BBC is predicting with a 90 per cent probability that Labour will win Croydon Central from the Conservatives, with Sarah Jones to poll 52 per cent of the vote, Gavin Barwell 41 per cent, while the LibDems’ Joan Hickson is predicted to lose her deposit.
These figures are not universally agreed, however.
Britain Elects has predicted a 67.5 per cent probability of Croydon Central being a Labour gain. In Carshalton and Wallington, they predict a Tom Brake hold for the LibDems.
Yet meanwhile, Lord Cashcroft, gaffe-prone Gav’s former boss, is saying Croydon Central is a 66 per cent chance of a Tory hold. The former Tory Party chairman claims that Carshalton and Wallington is an 83 per cent probability of a Conservative gain.
10pm EXIT POLL UPDATE: BBC says Conservatives will be the largest party in parliament, but not with the overall majority which Theresa Mayhem had sought.
David Dimbley may have just said on BBC1 that Mayhem is about as strong and stable as a shitting dog.
Having run the numbers collated from voters as they left 144 polling stations in the country’s 650 constituencies, the BBC is predicting 314 seats for the Tories, down 17 from 2015.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is predicted to gain 34 seats to 266.
The LibDems are up to 14, Caroline Lucas appears set to retain her Brighton seat for the Greens and the SNP are down to 34.
It seems that whatever inroads Labour might make in England and Wales, they can’t make up for the advances the Tories might make in Scotland, where the Conservatives are predicted to make 10-12 gains from the SNP.
Kevin Maguire, the Mirror‘s political editor, reckons “Tory majority on the exit poll ranges from 35 to 100. I’ve gone for 70, with a heavy heart.” So he’ll be delighted by that exit poll result, given how accurate the BBC’s poll proved to be in 2015.
9.40pm UPDATE: It has been said, more than once, that gaffe-prone Gavin Barwell is a bit shit when it comes to managing his social media accounts. “Gavin really doesn’t know what he’s doing,” offered his erstwhile gobby fac totem, Mario Creatura, and that was without mentioning the “Dating Asian Girls” shocker.
So there may well be recriminations tonight if the Tories’ housing minister loses his Westminster seat by a handful of votes after he tweeted this vital, late vote-winning message:
9.30pm UPDATE: It’s not just taxpayer-funded Labour councillors who have been devoting so much of their time to the election these past six weeks.
Chris Philp tweeted this vomit-inducing selfie this morning, of him outside Purley station with a couple of his loyal foot soliders. Yes, that’s right, the same Chris Philp who said he wanted Southern Rail to be re-nationalised, until his Tory bosses told him to blame the rail unions instead.
It earned Philp the title of “Most Useless MP in the Southern Crisis”. And yet the good people of Purley and Coulsdon have no doubt cast enough votes today to re-elect him as MP. It’s hardly Philp’s fault if there was no Labour candidate (What was her name again?).To Philp’s right is Donald Speakman, who appears to have forgotten his days as a Labour Party councillor in Lambeth, and with them is Badsha Quadir, the owner of a curry restaurant which Philp has more than once enthusiastically endorsed.
There is some suggestion that Quadir’s curry house has not been subject to any council food and hygiene checks for eight years. That surely cannot be right, and certainly can’t have anything to do with the restaurant being run by a local Conservative councillor. Can it?
9.15pm UPDATE: There may be queues at some polling stations, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in true blue Croydon South.The outcome in this seat is such a foregone conclusion – the Labour candidate, whatever her name was, has barely bothered visiting the constituency – that it seems business at the polling stations is very slow as everyone has accepted that Tory Chris Philp will be returned with ease.
As one activist told Inside Croydon: “Asked at two polling stations this evening and both said turnout was down by more than 10 per cent. May not affect winner in Croydon South, but could it indicate a lack of enthusiasm for Tories or just the collapse of the UKIP vote?”
9pm UPDATE: Right to the last, and Gavin Barwell is an unreformed, nine-bob hypocrite.Today, he’s been belly-aching about some modest damage to the grass in Park Hill Park, after the Labour rally staged there on Tuesday night (it’s the sort of damage you’d expect to see after a day of cross-country running in Lloyd Park, which repairs itself in a couple of weeks, and for which a contingency is usually included in any hire fee).
But that’s irrelevant to gaffe-prone Gav, who’ll try to use anything for political advantage as he tries to hang on to Croydon Central.
“Disgraceful,” Barwell blustered on social media today. “Council is meant to be neutral – should never have allowed it to go ahead.”
Barwell appears to have forgotten that ahead of the 2015 General Election, he staged his own campaign launch in the council-owned Fairfield Halls.
As he was saying: “Disgraceful. Council is meant to be neutral.”
8.45pm UPDATE: One very good thing to come out of the election being staged today is that, from tomorrow, our 70 local councillors can at last all get back to doing the work that they are paid to do, rather than spend the majority of their time campaigning for one political party or another.
It means an end, too, to the seemingly endless cascade of virtue-signalling tweets and social media activity, like the one above, in which we are led to believe that our elected local councillors are doing something worthwhile. When, of course, they’re not.
The picture above shows around £120,000-worth of councillor annual salaries – Croydon council leader Tony Newman, Stuart Collins, one of his deputies, and Mark Watson, part of the cabal which controls the Labour group on Croydon Council.
They’re not doing any real council work, for the residents of the wards which elected them in 2014, but rather spending their time prowling the streets.
They must be the world’s most overpaid leaflet deliverers.
The 2017 campaign has lasted six weeks. With “election purdah” seeing a lot of council business on shutdown for the duration of the campaign, our councillors – especially the very well-remunerated cabinet members like Newman, who pockets more than £50,000 per year – have been using their time to canvass on behalf of one candidate or another (the Tories are by no means innocent in this respect).
After two General Elections, the 2014 local elections and last year’s EU referendum, it means that in three years our councillors have probably spent a total of 20 weeks campaigning, rather than councillor-ing. And next May. there’s more council elections.
And you’re paying for this.
8pm UPDATE: Less than two hours left to vote.
Here is the formal service message:
DO NOT LEAVE IT TO 10pm, YOU MAY MISS OUT ON YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE.Throughout the day there have been anecdotal reports from activists of queues at polling stations, which in some cases might be a bit of wish-fulfillment, especially from the Labour side, which is looking for a high-turnout of well-motivated younger voters to change the outcome of the election in key battleground seats.
But a picture taken in the last hour at a polling station in Sutton shows queues forming there.
Croydon polling stations have a bit of a poor track record in slow processing of voters and queues forming, with some people failing to get inside the polling booths before 10pm in 2010 and not allowed to cast their vote.
So word to the wise: go and do it now. At least you’ll avoid the last-minute rush.
7.45pm UPDATE: Apparently, this year dogs visiting polling stations is a thing.
It even has its own hashtag.
#dogsatpollingstationsAt one polling station in Croydon South this morning, there was a doggy water bowl outside, so presumably the council officials must have been put on the scent in advance.
This reminds us of one of the funniest responses seen during the course of the campaign, shortly after the desperate Tory U-turn over the Dementia Tax. “Theresa May Strong and Stable?” someone asked.
“She’s about as strong and stable as a shitting dog.”
It is an image that has stayed ever since.
But this could all be a serious indicator of the way the election might be going.
A big turn out of terriers, beagles and fox hounds might signal a big day for Theresa Mayhem, although the Tory candidates in Croydon Central and Croydon South, Gavin Barwell and Chris Philp, have both declared that if re-elected, they would vote against a re-introduction of fox-hunting.
Mind you, Theresa May did say that she wouldn’t call a snap General Election, too…
7.30pm UPDATE: The first news of the evening comes from across the borough boundary in Sutton, where some are playing “Spot the FibDem”. The borough has been under the firm control of the well-organised FibDems machine for 27 years, but our on-the-spot reporter, Belle Mont, suggests that the party pulled out its canvassers in Sutton and Cheam (which Paul Scully won for the Tories in 2015) and in Carshalton and Wallington by mid-afternoon.
The orange foot soldiers were instead bussed over to Twickenham to try to help get St Vince Cable re-elected.
This re-deployment of manpower and resources is nothing unusual. Croydon Central is over-spilling with activists from across London trying to sway the outcome in a final GOTV – Get Out The Vote – operation. And after the flacid campaign by “Anonymous” Amina Ahmad for the FibDems in Sutton and Cheam, the decision to pull out canvassers there is no surprise.
But you might have expected the redeployed activists to wander over to Carshalton and Wallington where Tom Brake, the area’s MP for 20 years, is hanging on to a slender 1,500-vote majority from 2015 in an area which voted last year to quit the EU.
“Does this mean the LibDems have given up on Brake already?” one activist from another party asked.
Which is not very good news for Jeremy Corbyn.
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